Pilgrims from Kabale on the way to Namugongo. Photos by Wilfred Sanya
KAVERA BAN NAMUGONGO PILGRIMS
When one gets to both the Catholic and the Anglican Martyrs Shrines Namugongo, one sees a number of pilgrims carrying polythen bags commonly known as Kaveera freely.
At the Catholic shrine, banners clearly written on ‘Protect Namugongo from different dangers of Kaveera’ are put up in visible corners, including the entrance. However, pilgrims turn a blind eye to them as many were seen moving around with them.
Meresi Mudenga, a pilgrim from Tororo, says on arrival on Friday last week, no one stopped her from entering with her kaveera in which she was carrying sugar and bread.
While at a press conference On April 10 this year, the Catholic Bishops in partnership with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) vowed not to allow kaveera at the Martyrs' shrine under a joint campaign dubbed ‘Tuvve ku Kaveera’.
The chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa, then said they were to prevent people from taking kaveera to Namugongo with an aim of protecting Mother Nature.
“Although the ‘kaveera’ may be popular, cheap and fitting it is very dangerous as it is non –biodegradable,” he said.
However, Catholic shrines Rector Rev. Fr. Vincent Lubega said he did not get any communication from the Episcopal Conference regarding stopping people from taking kaveera to the shrines.
“We were also not given any alternatives for pilgrims to use. However, we will make sure the place is kept clean by providing litter bins where kaveera can be dumped,” he said.
He said they have received 30 bins from donors and have hired over 20 cleaners to ensure that the place is kept clean.
Church of Uganda
At the Church of Uganda, the Martyrs' Day organizing committee together with NEMA and other partners on Tuesday joined the Tuvve ku Kaveera campaign to conserve the environment.
NEMA and other partners provided ninety five dusty bins to ensure that there is proper disposal of garbage, including kaveera for those who will carry it to the premises.
Church of Uganda’s Rt. Rev. Bishop Stephen Kazimba Mugalu encouraged the pilgrims to carry things in reusable papers to save the environment.
The Martyrs Day celebrations chairman organising committee at the Anglican church, Gaster Lule Ntake, said they will not stop pilgrims from entering with kaveera, but will sensitise them on its dangers and tell them about proper disposal.
NEMA speaks out
NEMA Director District Support Coordination and Public Education Dr. Daniel Babikwa said the celebrations is an opportunity for all of us to know that environment protection is everyone’s responsibility as the dangers that emerge out miss management of environment affect everyone.
“We know very well that a clean environment is the basis for a health society,” he emphasized
He thanked the church for joining the fight in environment protection, adding that usually when people talk about environment and its protection they point at NEMA.
What pilgrims say
Suzan Kikyonkyo, a pilgrim from Fort Portal Kabarole district said it is a good idea to ban buveera from the catholic shrine as it will protect the green at Namugongo.
She said: “Namugongo looks clean this time as littering is minimised.”
Martha Namanya, a pilgrim from Kiruhura district, said it will be hard to ban buveera from Namugongo. She said until government totally bans kaveera from the country, they cannot fight it from one place.